Mars, also known as the Red Planet has been a constant topic of debate and discussion for space explorers across the world. In fact, several spacecraft has been sent to that planet in order to study it effectively and acquire facts and information about it. The planet is certainly far away from the earth, due to which it is difficult to land astronauts, but it is certainly close enough to spark the imagination. It is interesting to note that sky watchers got a glimpse of the Red Planet as it made its closest approach to Earth in 11 years. However, the plant continues to fascinate us, and there are some amazing facts that you will be surprised to know about this planet.
Second Highest Known Mountain:
It should not come as a surprise that Mars had the second highest mountain known in the entire solar system. The Olympus Mons is also the youngest of the large volcanoes observed in Mars with a height of about 22 km. It also stands almost three times as the height of Mount Everest.
Presence Of Water In The Past:
There has been a huge debate over the point whether the second smallest planet had traces of life in it. Astronomers studying the planet have found the evidence of canals made by aliens. However, later it was found to be an optical illusion. Apart from that, several spacecraft have noticed signs of ancient water with channels grooved in water.
A Thicker Atmosphere:
In order to ensure the flow of water, the planet required a thicker atmosphere. It is thought that the energy of the sun striking the atmosphere has stripped off the lighter forms of hydrogen, thereby scattering the molecules. However, investigations are carried out in detail.
If human beings ever set their feet on Mars, they would feel lighter. The planet has less surface gravity compared to Earth. In fact, there is 62.5% less gravity than on earth. Consequently, they would feel lighter.
Presence Of Moons:
The planet has two moons, and these are known as Phobos and Deimos. These moons are not only small but also they are shaped irregularly. They were discovered by Asaph Hall, an American astronomer in the course of a week.
Traces Of Life:
Burps of methane were discovered in 2014 by Curiosity Rover. Following this, the scientists at NASA claimed that there could be traces of life present in the planet because ancient methane trapped on the planet could mean some ancient life in it.
Five Functioning Spacecraft:
Currently, the Red Planet is host to five different functioning spacecraft. Three of them function in the orbit and are known as Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The other two functions on the surface and these include the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity and Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.
High And Low Terrain:
Due to less surface gravity, it is possible for volcanoes to be taller without getting collapsed. This is the reason why the tallest volcano is approximately of the same diameter as the state of Arizona. In addition to that, the planet has some wide and deep canyons, and in some parts, the depth is about 4 miles. The valley is considered to be as wide as the United States.
Pieces Of Mars On Earth:
Mars was hit by large asteroids in the past, and innumerable debris was ejected into space. Some of the debris also fell on Earth. The gases trapped in these meteorites were found to be identical to ones found on the Red Planet. This was way back in the 1970s and 1980s.
Killing An Unprotected Astronaut:
It is surprising to note that Mars has the ability to kill an astronaut without any protection. This is mainly due to the fact that Mars is very cold with an average temperature of -50 degree Fahrenheit. Secondly, it has no atmosphere practically. The air pressure is only 1%. Even if there is some degree of atmosphere, the composition is not compatible with humans.
NASA is planning to create an independent Mars colony by 2030s. in the next few years, NASA will also take steps in establishing a human presence beyond earth.